Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Glamis at the end of September

This beautiful sweet chestnut is in the grounds of Glamis Castle, a place associated in my mind with autumn, mists and hares. I was lucky enough to do a little work there once, high in one of the towers with a view across dew-soaked lawns. This time we were there as tourists and indeed customers of the very good cafe in the old kitchen. It can't have been too bad a kitchen to work in: there were high, bright windows and the great arch of a ceiling would have taken away some of the appalling heat of the huge fire and ovens.
The grounds are pretty, though the walks are far from strenuous. The walled Italian garden is apparently under development but is already a lovely, peaceful place. While I drooled in at the windows of the old lean-to greenhouses, heated by their brick walls and filled with tomatoes, figs and grapes, the summer's late insects refuelled nearby.

I've finished my September quota on the book and I'm on Chapter Twenty, where a much-loved character is in peril (the character is much loved by me, anyway). I've also done one drabble for November - must try a couple more! 100 words is far too short for someone as verbose as me.

I'm toying with the idea of beginning a different series, too, but perhaps more of that anon! I still have a few stand-alones half finished on the shelf which I would like to clear up: half-finished books are nearly as bad as half-finished knitting.

But the autumn sun shines, and outside there are blackberries to pick and breezes to dart through and geese to hear overhead, and a small white kitten, watched with disgust by a large ginger cat, to guard on his first few expeditions into the jungle. September draws to its lovely close, and we have, for the most part, survived it for another year.

Monday 21 September 2015

Busy Autumn

Next year I think I'm going to hibernate for September. There are a couple of things that happen in September every year, and then once they're organised everyone conspires to run in and fill my diary for the rest of the month. I'm sure pixies are writing in it at night. It doesn't help, though it's delightful, that Allotment Major is brimming with broad beans, peas and courgettes and on Wednesday I even brought home a bag of tatties and onions, despite the voles' depredations earlier in the year. Sadly I had to take the veg to a funeral (we hid them in the church kitchen, I hasten to add) but the lovely lady we were commemorating was a keen gardener with a keen sense of mischief and I think she would have been chuckling!

What also doesn't help is having a kitten who has yet to work out the advantages of using a litter tray rather than any soft surface he comes across ...

The sun shone on Saturday and I ended up spending four hours in the local park painting fish. Well, if you see a sign on a fence saying 'Paint some Fish' it's hard to resist! The fish were cut out of plywood (brown trout, sea trout and salmon in several sizes) and there were gulls, too, which local children (and the occasional adult) were invited to paint to decorate a public art wall in the park. I hope to have a photo for a future blog, but it was very relaxing to lie on the grass in the sunshine and muck around with paints and pens. Local art student Ilena Low organised the whole thing and will be painting the big background picture, so I hope the weather holds for her!

Meanwhile I am on a diet of 2,000 words a day for the rest of the month to catch up on the current Murray of Letho book. This is unfortunate as Cecilia Peartree has brought out the latest Pitkirtly book, Closer to Death in a Garden, which has to be read, along with various other literary temptations, A Murder of Crows and The Devil's Recruit amongst them. Now, having thought that I should hibernate through next September, I'm now again wondering if I should just give up sleeping altogether?